By Jim Long, Long Creek Herbs, US
The rose is the most recognised flower in the world. No other flower in human history has captured the attention, or romance, we give the rose. Possibly it’s because the real essence can’t be completely contained; no matter how much effort goes into bottling the fragrance, or preserving the flavour or drying the petals, the true mystery of the attraction of a rose remains an enigma.
Rose waters, potpourris, jams, syrups, jellies and candies all attempt to capture the smell and secure the taste of the rose, drawing it into an identifiable jar or bottle or lotion or potion that we can hold in our hand.
In many areas of the world where civilizations have thrived for millennia, roses are used for flavouring much like we in the West use vanilla or cinnamon. Rose ice cream is a common flavour in Asian countries, rose drinks are a regular cooling summer drink in desert areas and rose water splashed on the forehead to cool the face is as common in some cultures as an air conditioner is to ours.
Things to know about eating a rose:
- Don’t eat roses that have been sprayed with insecticide or fungicide.
- Don’t eat roses that have had systemic insecticides used on them (usually combined with rose fertiliser).
- Don’t eat roses from the florist, they have had a great deal of pesticide used on them in whatever country they were grown.
- Do eat roses that are the old-fashioned, fragrant roses.
How to simply taste a rose:
Choose a fragrant red or pink rose (those have the most flavour and fragrance). Pull off several petals and eat them. Notice the very pleasant flavour!
Here are just a few of the ways you can eat a rose:
- Candied petals
- Ice cream
- Sharbet (a milkshake like drink served in India)
- Gulab jamins (an Indian dessert)
- Tender salad greens with rose petals and raspberries
- Rose vinegar
- Tea sandwiches
- Rose and black tea sorbet and beverage
- Rose water over ice
- Rose butter
- Rose syrup
- Rose jelly
- Rose syrup over ice cream
- China rose tea sorbet
- Rose cake
- Rose icing
- Rose & cinnamon muffins
- Bread, butter and rose sandwiches
- Rose popsicles
The flavour of rose combines deliciously with these flavours:
Raspberries, strawberries, lemon, vanilla, cinnamon, rose geranium, nutmeg, mint and lavender.
Instant Rose Honey
3 cups fragrant rose petals
¾ cup honey
Put the fresh rose petals in the food processor and pulse process until you have well shredded petals. Pour them out into a dish and add the honey, mixing well. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.
Raspberry Rose Yogurt Salad Dressing
½ cup raspberry yogurt
½ teaspoon food grade rose water
2 teaspoons milk or water
1 tablespoon finely chopped fragrant rose petals
Blend together well and serve over mixed salad greens like the traditional bitter/mild European mixes.
Rose & Black Tea
1 tea bag, black tea, like Liptons
1 heaping tablespoon fresh rose petals or 2 teaspoons dry
Pour 1 cup boiling water over the tea and roses. Cover with a saucer and let steep for 5 minutes. Sweeten with honey if desired.
Tip: Pick fresh roses in mid morning, after the dew has left but before the heat of the day and pull the petals off, placing them in plastic sandwich bags in the refrigerator; they will keep for up to a week without wilting.
Tiny Rose Cookies
½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1¾ cup flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons rose water
Tiny pinch of mace (less than ⅛ teaspoon)
Mix ingredients and blend thoroughly. Drop well apart like small marbles on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 190 degrees C (370 degrees F) for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Makes approximately 30 little cookies.
Taken from How to Eat a Rose
More of Jim Long’s recipes for eating roses can be found in his book “How to Eat a Rose”, from his website: www.LongCreekHerbs.com. Visit his garden blog for weekly updates on the garden at: http://jimlongsgarden.blogspot.com